Wild Mercury Sound

Oakley Hall, last night

John Mulvey

To Cargo in East London last night, for the long-awaited UK debut (by me, at least) of Oakley Hall. If you've not come across them before, Oakley Hall are a six-piece from Brooklyn who play a kind of driving, euphoric country psych. The two albums they released last year indicated that they were probably a pretty roistering live band.

And fortunately, they are. They begin with a pounding motorik beat, two needling guitars running rings round each other, a leaping fiddle, and some very Gram'n'Emmylou harmonies. The song is "Volume Rambler" from the "Second Guessing" album, if memory serves, and as usual at this point, I'd be quite keen for it to go on for another 20 minutes.

Oakley Hall have a bunch of songs like this - "Hiway", "If I Was In El Dorado" - but they're also getting better at ballads, too. There's a great one they play which will apparently be on the new album, out in August in the States.

We've been championing the band for a year and a half now, and have placed a couple of songs on our free CDs. They haven't got a UK deal for the new album yet, though things seem to be happening in the States. The new one is coming out on Merge, home to The Arcade Fire and Lambchop, and frontman Pat Sullivan tells me that they've just come off a big tour supporting Bright Eyes and the wonderful Gillian Welch. Conor Oberst, he says, would spend three minutes each night telling the audience that Oakley Hall were his favourite band.

And frankly, you can see his point. Sullivan reckons they'll be back in the autumn, when hopefully the album will be out over here. Oh yeah, I just remembered my shit pun: Neu! Riders Of The Purple Sage. I'll go now.


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